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Old 11-18-2019, 07:48 PM   #1
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Not even a newbie yet

Hello all,
I have just signed up to the forums. I am hopefully buying 1 of 2. Airstreams available in my area via craigslist this week. I intend it to be my permanent home. I have never owned a travel trailer. Never had any knowledge until a few weeks ago when I suddenly became homeless and started exploring the possibility of going from disaster to dream. I am tent camping during the interim. I have long loved the looks of an Airstream. I even have dreams of restoring as a side hustle if possible. I am extremely creative and great with upcycling, improvising and seeing the potential repurposing of just about everything I see.

So, one is only a few miles away, a 31' 1972 Sov. that has its kitchen and bath bits still intact but otherwise its gutted with new electric and new floors. Also the 1st thing they did was strip and polish the trailer about 95% complete. I have seen this one. They are willing to even deliver it.
The second is maybe 25 miles away, a 1979 33' Sov. The person has 2 trailers listed but upon calling, one was gone. The ad is not great as the info and pictures are often the same from both ads. So, I'm not sure what's what there. It does appear to be mostly an intact original or at least far more than the 1st. I am going to see it tomorrow afternoon. The dude on the phone did not give a good vibe but that's not relevent.

I am eager, able, willing to do updates and have all skills necessary, I believe. My first inclination was towards the one close that has already had some updates and is mostly gutted. Then I thought, ya learn a lot from taking something apart.

I welcome any advice on what to look for in these old beauties, ya know? What's good to find and what's bad when seen? I don't know the extent to which testing systems are acceptable. Any comments are appreciated.

I am eager either way, which ever one. I don't think cboosing either can be making the wrong choice. But that is likely the bliss of ignorance speaking.
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Old 11-18-2019, 08:33 PM   #2
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You’re opening up a can of worms here....

First off, I’m excited for you. I want to advise to walk before you run here though. Nothing worse than a bad trailer and you may be one of the lucky ones that actually has one in your town close by but normally people will travel all over the country to find the one that is right.

Without sounding too judgy, why would you consider buying an airstream instead of just moving into an apartment/home/renting a room? May be much more affordable.

Second, how do you plan on moving it once you have it? A tow vehicle is important in this decision and unfortunately airstreams are heavy so many people end up needing to get a new vehicle. If they are delivering it, where do you plan on parking it until you’re able to move it?
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Old 11-18-2019, 10:08 PM   #3
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Agree heartily with BigSxy...
Impulsiveness is fine if you are dying your hair purple... it is a looming disaster if you get a tattoo. A buzz cut won't fix a tattoo.

There is this thing called a "decision making process" that you seem to be unaware of, or are brushing aside.

Truth: 95% odds both sellers are trying to unload their bright dreams that withered and died when reality set in and they found out that their dreams were going to cost $70,000 and take 3 years to fix. And...that almost NO campgrounds allow you to do major work on any RV.

The seller that gives you a bad vibe? Call and ask if he has a clear title. 90% odds only has a bill of sale and that is from 3 transfers ago... with a now dead owner's signature.

Go look at RE-PETE's thread on rehabbing a pretty decent trailer. I know this gentleman personally and... well just read his posts. AND He can afford to do what you naively think will take a few weeks and cost a few hundred bucks.

READ full monte stories, broken frame stories, mouse poop in the walls and chewed wiring, axle replacement, what "inobtainium" refers to, and how a previous owner's "fixes" can ruin a trailer. And what happens when you find the trailer you bought was stolen.

I reread this and it IS harsh. I just see the cliff you are standing on, and am betting you cant afford to throw away the purchase money.
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Old 11-19-2019, 09:09 AM   #4
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Thank you both for your wise words of caution.
First, I absolutely love honest, bold, harsh replies. There is no value in fluffy "oh cool, you rock" messages. And uh, "bigsxywhtguy", please offer up any judgy thoughts as well. Although I did consider the options you mentioned, I did not say that here and you were very thought filled to be sure I had thought them through. Yes the vehicle is an issue. I live in Oklahoma, friends with trucks are not difficult to find here. But more importantly I have a very good friend with a big truck he keeps as his "sunday driver" or spare. He has been very supportive and has offered use of this truck at any time for any length of time in support of this effort.
My original post made my decision making prosess sound, well, absent. There has been much thought and prayer put in to this.
Using a jigsaw puzzle as an a analogy, there are many pieces to my puzzle. What i have offered up and asked for help with here are only the pieces with the flat sides. I am hoping y'all can help me with the border.
Here is what I know and understand about the Airstream close by. It was purchased in Dallas two years ago by a local division of a geology company. The manager of that location was doing the work to make the AS a mobile lab for their work. The manager has now left this location though. A new person is now head of operations there. He does not have the time to continue the work. The AS is in their shop. He has offered to let me work on the AS there during business hours. He has offered to deliver the AS. I can park it where I am currently camping thru March without having to relocate. March to November I would have to move it to one of the other camp grounds within the park every 2 weeks.
I think, the new head of operation at the geology company was present during the previous guys efforts made with the AS. I will clarify that one today. He tells me everything functioned correctly when it was purchased and moved to their shop.
Oddly, in doing a bit of sleuthing regarding the other AS, that owner is the owner of his own geology company. These geologist people work in the oil fields here if that is not understood. They are ever present in Oklahoma.
To both of you, please don't read this as I am taking a defensive position and think your words are wasted. I am trying to give better explanation. Please feel free to verbally smack me across the face, so to speak, if you think I am missing something. I am seeking honest brutal truths.
I am going to seek out the postings of the people you mentioned thanks.
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:43 AM   #5
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Do you have any pictures or Craigslist ad that you would care to share...
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Old 11-19-2019, 06:42 PM   #6
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1972 31' Sovereign
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https://oklahomacity.craigslist.org/...010834677.html

I went over there today to look at it again. They attached a garden hose to the port on the back and we ran the kitchen sink, bath sink and flushed the toilet. I couldn't find any leaks. I ran the AC, it was very cold. The two propane tanks were empty so I could not check the relative gas items. The pictures are not terribly pretty but not a disaster if you can see past a bit of dirt and lack of organization.
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Old 11-19-2019, 07:27 PM   #7
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AZ, I think adding the link caused my reply to get held for inspection. If you go to the site in question, I'm in the Oklahoma City area. Airstream searched there will find a $6,000 offering in my hometown Edmond. Wink wink. I hope I don't jinx myself.
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Old 11-19-2019, 08:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happyjoemay View Post
AZ, I think adding the link caused my reply to get held for inspection. If you go to the site in question, I'm in the Oklahoma City area. Airstream searched there will find a $6,000 offering in my hometown Edmond. Wink wink. I hope I don't jinx myself.
Found the Airstream, it will be a project. I do have 3 concerns

1. The refrigerator appears to be a house fridge which is fine if you are stationary, but can be problematic if traveling.

2. The axles are worn out and need to be replaced. Traveling with worn ut axles can cause additional problem (#3)

3. The picture from the rear shows signs of rear end separation and possible frame damage. There are plenty of thread that go into this issue on the forums. It was a common issue on the longer 70s trailers for several reason. This is something that needs to be checked.
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Old 11-19-2019, 10:47 PM   #9
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Outstanding. Thank you for your observations. I was hoping someone with such knowledge would offer up such an evaluation. I a bit of time today trying to understand what I was seeing there at the back of the AS.
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Old 11-20-2019, 12:18 AM   #10
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1972 31' Sovereign
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How would you rate these problems to a novice with more time than money. Are these deal breakers? What value would you call this AS? I am willing and eager to do the work. But if replacement axles are comparable to the cost of the AS then I am in trouble. I am buying out of a need for shelter. I am a desperate chump waiting to be taken.
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Old 11-20-2019, 12:21 PM   #11
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1972 31' Sovereign
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I jumped up and down on the back bumper....

...and then off the high diving board.
I jumped on the bumper to see how the bumper and and frame interacted with the body. They were fully one unit from what I could determine. Diving deeper, i could see there had been much work done in the area around and under the rear end. Corrwcting the cosmetic aspects of what had been done was not completed.
Regardless, it's my problem now and I am overjoyed. I did negotiate another reduction in the price, they are filling the two huge propane tanks. They are even delivering it to me once we sort through all of the pile of parts that were removed and set to the side.
All that I could think to do about the question about the axles was to look for uneven wear on the tires. There did not seem to be anything glaring out at me.
BUT, still I confess, my eyes are blinded by love and the shine the previous owner spent weeks upon.
Thanks to all for their words of caution. Please believe me that I have spent hours in prayer and contemplation over this. I know I will have help along this journey.
Joe May
Proud new papa of:
The Sovereign Of Streams
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Old 11-20-2019, 01:36 PM   #12
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Good luck on your new venture and congratulations for picking yourself up and moving forward.
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Old 11-20-2019, 01:48 PM   #13
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Congratulations on your "new" trailer. We had a 75 for many years and it was a great trailer. Please keep us updated as you work on you Airstream.
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